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Wednesday, August 11, 2004; Page F03


For those put off by juiced wheatgrass and bored with low-carb bars, there is acai.

Acai (ah-sigh-EE), the purplish fruit of the palmberry plant, purportedly contains more antioxidants than red wine and has a beguiling berry-like flavor with intense chocolate overtones.

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The fruit, which is indigenous to the Amazon, was formerly unavailable outside of the tropics. But it is now distributed by Sambazon, a California-based company that promotes sustainable harvesting in the Brazilian rainforest. Sambazon acai comes spiked with guarana (another Brazilian plant, this one legendary for its caffeine-like kick). Sambazon acai is packaged in handy single-serving frozen pouches. Follow tradition and either spoon the defrosted fruit straight up or top it with yogurt and cereal. Or toss the partially frozen fruit in a blender with other smoothie makings, as they do at Robeks Fruit Smoothies & Healthy Eats (1707 L St. NW).

Sambazon acai ($5.29 per four-pack) is available locally at Whole Foods Market. For more information or for mail-order, contact Sambazon; call 877-726-2296 or see www.sambazon.com.

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